- FTSE indices tapered off behind resources stocks in early deals despite a string of news flow. Wall St closed higher overnight on Friday, while key Asian stock ladders were firmer this morning. The on-going Greece debt renegotiation saga continues to unsettle.

Shortly after the open, FTSE 100 was down 23.38 points, or 0.33%, to 6999.13, having last week punched through the 7000 barrier. FTSE 250 was down 36.29, or 0.21%, to 17,501.3. At 8.41am, WTI was down 1.87% to $45.7/bbl, while Brent was down 1.43% to $54.53/bbl.

Lonmin (LMI) led miners down with a 2.98% fall to 130.3p, with Vedanta (VED) and Anglo American (AAL) behind. Oil issues were led lower by Tullow Oil (TLW), which faded 1.39% to 315.85p, with BP (BP.) and BG Group (BG.) behind. Several retailers also figured lower, with Burberry (BRBY) off 2.45% to 1830p, and Next (NXT) some distance behind.

Finsbury Food (FIF), up 5.76% to 73.5p, has posted H1 pretax profits of £4.1m, up 95% on last time and up 77% on a like-for-like basis. The results include two months of trading from the Fletchers Group, acquired on Oct. 30. Interim dividend was 0.83p a share, from 0.25p.

Blue chips to the upside numbered a tickle more than 30, all with muted gains. Standard Chartered (STAN), up 3.06% to 1104.25p, led several banks and insurers higher. Property outfits were notable, with Hammerson (HMSO), up 0.66% to 689.5p, leading. Supermarkets, tobacco stocks and utility outfits also managed unconvincing gains.


Essenden (ESS), up 14.58% to 82.5p, has received a preliminary approach from Harwood Capital regarding a possible acquisition. Talks were preliminary but included the possibility of an acquisition of the entire issued and to be issued share capital.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (CGNR), up 12.5% to 0.9p, has identified a previously unknown mineralised gold zone at its Clontibret gold and antimony project in Co Monaghan. Initial results of its in-fill drilling programme showed grades of 25.29 g/t gold over 2.5 metres and 22.37g/t gold over 1 metre.

SpaceandPeople (SAL), down 15.67% to 56.5p, has posted a FY pretax profit of £0.76m, from a year-ago profit of £2.4m. It proposed a final dividend of 2p a share. Meantime, Verona Pharma (VRP), up 10.98% to 2.83p, has issued encouraging interim results from the first part of a 120 subject Phase I/II clinical trial with RPL554, using a new proprietary nebulised formulation.


Silence Therapeutics (SLN), up 14.32% to 271.5p, said a draft interim analysis of drug Atu027-I-02 in a phase IIa study showed a clear signal that required further investigation. Atu027 has the potential to become a new therapeutic modality in oncology. This is an excellent outcome both in terms of Atu027, it said.

Egdon Resources (EDR) noted Europa Oil and Gas (EOG) is to plug and abandon the Kiln Lane-1 exploration well in Lincolnshire. Europa, the operator, said wireline logging and subsequent petrophysical analysis indicated that the sandstones encountered are water wet. Egdon holds a 25.0% interest in the well. EDR's shares fell 15.15% to 7p, and EOG's fell 15.25% to 6.25p.

Clean Air Power (CAP), down 21.02% to 2.33p, has been awarded an additional one-year extension to its 2-year funded research project with Brunel University, London, aimed at developing the next generation of advanced dual-fuel combustion systems.

Michelmersh Brick (MBH), up 4.35% to 72p, has improved its FY pretax profit to £2.6m, from a year-earlier profit of £0.4m. Revenue was £28.5m, from £25.9m. It said a dividend of 0.5p a share was payable for the period.

Severfield (SFR), down 3.13% to 65.63p, said its overall trading performance continues to be in line with management expectations. Meantime, Telit Communications (TCM), down 3.16% to 214.75p, has lifted its FY pretax profit by 16.8% to $13.9m, from $11.9m. YouGov (YOU), up 4.45% to 129p, has booked an H1 pretax profit of £16,000, from a prior-year loss of £0.4m.

Other stocks in the news included CityFibre's (CFHL), Pennon Group (PNN), GVC Holdings (GVC), Matchtech (MTEC), Costain (COST) and Fevertree Drinks (FEVR).

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